If you or a family member has been injured in a Michigan City, Indiana car accident, Guy DiMartino Law can help you. We truly understand the havoc that can occur as result of being in a serious auto crash. We are committed to helping our fellow Michigan City accident victims receive fair and just compensation that they are entitled to receive under Indiana law.
Making a bodily injury claim can be complicated and scary if you do not know your rights. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in LaPorte County, call our Michigan City personal injury lawyer Guy S. DiMartino for legal assistance at (219) 690-8897 for a free consultation.
Indiana Car Accident Statistics
In 2017, Indiana had 219,105 traffic accidents that resulted in injury or property damage. 911 folks died in these accidents. LaPorte County had 5,794 crash, Porter County had 8,669 accidents, Lake County had 29,768 accidents and St. Joseph County saw 14,680 crashes. Our area of the state including Lake, Porter, Newton, LaPorte, St. Joseph and Marshall counties reported worse occurrences than other parts of the state. Depending on the facts of accident, you may have sustained a variety of injuries. Injuries such as broken bones or deep cuts are easily seen. Other injuries like neck and back injuries, herniated spinal discs, knee injuries and internal injuries to your heart or lungs, are not as easily seen and could be life threatening. Only a doctor can evaluate and treat your injuries so you should not wait to seek medical attention.
Common Reasons for Indiana Car Accidents
Over the years, law enforcement personnel gather statistics for car accidents, which is report to the state. Some of the common reasons that Indiana car accidents happen include:
Frequent Accident Sites in Michigan City
- Route 20 eastbound and Route 20 westbound are notorious for accidents.
- Franklin Street south of US 20
- 10th Avenue and Washington Street
Handling the Indiana Insurance Company After A Car Accident
Many people mistakenly believe that car accident claims are routine. This belief is just not true and each and every day, these claims get more and more complex. Every car accident is unique because the facts of each accident and every person are different. Our Michigan City, Indiana personal injury lawyer understands that your car crash can have many causes including the negligence of the other driver, a problem with the roadway or a mechanical defect with the vehicle.
The insurance companies want injured people to believe that handling a car accident claim is simple and you don't need a lawyer's assistance to resolve the claim. You should know, however, that insurance adjusters are trained in handling auto accident claims and reducing the amount of a potential settlement. The way to keep the insurance company in check is to have an experienced Michigan City, Indiana personal injury lawyer on your side. A 2004 study by the Insurance Research Council showed that on average automobile claimant that hired a car accident lawyer received a settlement that was three to three and a half times better than they would have on their own. (2004-Insurance Research Study). Remember, if the insurance company wins – you lose!
Follow These Steps After a Michigan City Car Accident
Step 1: Call the police and gather evidence at the scene. Under Indiana law you are required to report your car accident. Call 911 so that the Michigan City Police Department, LaPorte County Sheriff's Office or Indiana State Police can investigate and report the accident.
Step 2: If you are physically able, make sure to take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles and anything else that may seem off. These photographs are evidence. The accident scene can change within a few days, so if you don't get this information immediately the evidence may be lost or destroyed.
Step 3: Make sure you get the names and contact information for any witnesses. Don't assume that law enforcement is going to obtain and document this evidence. If I had a dime for every time I heard the this: "there was a lady that stopped and said she saw everything." and I ask, "do you have her name?", and I hear "no".
Step 4: Go the hospital, urgent care or your doctor. For many folks involved in accidents, the last thing they want to do is go to the emergency room and wait for hours. After an accident, your adrenaline is pumping, your heart is racing, and you feel shaken up, but you think you're fine. You go home, things settle down, and then you start feeling stiff and hurting. The biggest mistake at this point is saying “everything will be okay.” Instead, you should immediately go to the hospital, an urgent care center, or your doctor's office. There could be something medically going on inside your body, that can cause serious consequences if it's not addressed.
You also want to get checked out immediately after a Michigan City car accident because many insurance companies will hold it against you if you wait days or weeks after the accident to get checked out. You will hear the adjuster say things like, "if your client was injured, they would have went to the hospital or their doctor immediately or by the next day."
Step 5: Report your claim to your insurance company even if you are not at fault for the accident. Your insurance contract requires you to report the claim within a reasonable time and you may have insurance benefits that can help you get a rental car or pay for your initial medical care.
Consequences Following a Car Accident
We have seen the different ways in which car accident impact victims and their families. Here are some of the issues that can come up:
Car Repairs: Whether you were injured or not, most of the time there is damage to your vehicle. You will need to get your car repaired so it is restored and in safe working order. If your car is not able to repaired, you will need to find a replacement vehicle that you are able to afford.
Medical Bills: If you are injured in the car accident, your first concern should be your health. However, healthcare providers are not cheap and the bills such as the ambulance ride, emergency room, doctor's visits and more can begin piling up. The full nature an extent of your injuries may not be known for many months and sometimes require seeing specialists to address these concerns. Medical bills can rise quickly and contrary to popular belief the other driver's insurance company will not pay your medical expenses as you get treatment.
Lost Wages: Because of your injuries, you may not be able to return to work or you may have to modify your work schedule. You may be entitled to money for the amount of work that you lost. Again, the other driver's insurance company will not give you a weekly paycheck while you are out of work.
Common Injuries Seen in Car Accidents
Almost every part of the human body can be injured depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident. Some injuries can be life threatening, other injuries may not be life threatening but they certainly can impact your lifestyle. Some common injuries include:
Broken Bones: A fracture can be simple, however, the repair can be complicated. For instance, if the broken bone is comminuted (broken into a number of pieces) the repair may require hardware. If the hardware goes inside the body, it is called an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF), if the hardware is outside the body, it is called external fixation. Broken bones can also lead decreased function in the area of the fracture, chronic pain, or infection.
Brain Injuries: Car accidents are a well known cause of traumatic brain injury. To be injured, the brain does not require a blunt blow. Instead, a whipping back and forth of the head can tear parts of the nerves called axons. Frank injury to the brain can cause death or permanent life altering problems. Depending on the area of the brain and the nature and extent of the injury, people can have long term memory problems, mood changes, headaches, light and/or hearing sensitivity. Many times doctors will call this post-concussion syndrome.
Spinal Cord Injury: A spinal cord injury has a serious consequences. If the spinal cord is injured in the lower part of the spine, the injured person may lose the ability to use his/her legs. This is called paraplegia. If the spinal cord is injured in the neck, the injured persona may lose the ability to use his/her arms and legs, this is called quadriplegia.
Whiplash: Also known as a cervical acceleration/deceleration is an undervalued injury. Insurance companies consider them minor, however, in the 35 plus years that I've been dealing with folks who suffered whiplash, many have had longstanding problems. They folks typically say that my neck has "never been the same."
Amputation: Over the years, I have represented car accident victims who have had to have a limb amputated. The typical reason for this is a crushing injury that injuries to the bone, blood vessels and nerves so the tissue cannot heal requiring removal.
Burn Injuries: Airbags have saved a lot of people from internal injury after a car accident. However, airbags routinely cause burns on the hands, wrists and forearms. Additionally, folks can be burned because of hot metal or chemicals, and in rare situations, because the vehicle has caught on fire. If someone is receives a burn in a car accident, they are entitled to compensation for any scarring that follows.
Guy DiMartino Law's Approach to Car Accident Claims
We are a Michigan City law firm that focuses on protecting our clients' rights. Our goal is to maximize the compensation that may be available after an accident. We understand that is our duty to provide the insurance company or jury a clear understanding of how the car wreck has impacted your quality of life. In order to do so, we will investigate your claim, and we may do the following depending on the facts of your case.
Interview any available witnesses. If there are witnesses to your accident, it is important to get an understanding of what the witness saw sooner than later because with time memories will fade.
Photos of the scene. If there is a dispute of the facts of the accident, it is important to take video and/or photographs of the scene. Many times we have to out to an intersection and video the sequencing of the light change cycle(s) when both parties say they had the right of way.
Pictures of the vehicles: Whether the person thinks they have a claim or not, it is important to take photos of the vehicles involved including the inside of the vehicle.
Background check of the other driver: The other driver's criminal and driving history may be an important element of the claim.
Obtain medical records before and after the accident. Prior medical records can establish the injured person's state of health before the accident, where records from after the accident will document the nature and extent of the accident related injuries.
Expert witness retention: If the cause of the accident is at issue. It may be necessary to hire an accident reconstructionist to download black box data, measure the scene and reconstruct the crash.
Cell phone records. If we expect that the accident is caused because of cell phone use, it is important to make sure the records are retained and not destroyed. Some cell phone companies only keep this data for a short period of time.
Frequently Asked Questions After A Michigan City Car Accident
At Guy DiMartino Law, we receive call from folks who have concerns about what to do after a car accident all the time. If you have a question, it is smart to give us a call. There is no obligation and we will do our best to point you in the right direction. Here are some frequently asked questions:
Do I need a lawyer?
Not everyone who is injured in a car accident needs a lawyer from the outset. However, it is important to make sure that you collect all the necessary evidence just in case things don't work out and you need to make a claim. You can read our article we we give you the factors to look to help you decide if you want to hire an attorney. Generally, if the facts of the accident are not in dispute and the injuries are mild to moderate and clear up in a couple of months, most folks do not need a lawyer. However, if the facts of the accident are in dispute, there are significant injuries, health insurance (Medicare or Medicaid) are involved, the injury victim should think about retaining a lawyer.
What can a lawyer do for me?
An experienced car accident lawyer can lead you through the maze of dealing with insurance companies, body shops and healthcare providers. Your lawyer will protect you from making any one of the common mistakes that destroy car accident claims, and when the time comes do their best to settle your car accident claim without going to court or taking your case to trial.
Should I accept the insurance companies settlement offer?
A number of insurance companies will send adjusters out to the accident victim's home within a week of the accident and present them with a check for their injuries. As a general rule, it is not a good idea to accept the monies at that time, because you may not know the nature and extent of your injuries. Over the years, We have seen about 50 people who accepted a check within the first few weeks of the accident, only to find out later on that they had a significant injury that they couldn't get treated because their case was already closed.
What are the most common injuries from car accidents?
Injuries can range from minor injuries to death. However, the most common injury is a whiplash. Folks think of the TV shows with the person wearing a neck brace when they think of whiplash, but whiplash injuries can cause some people long term problems.
How much does a car accident attorney cost?
Most car accident lawyer take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the injured person does not get charged a fee until the end of the case, and only if there is a recovery. Contingency fees are typically a percentage of the recovery and can range from 25-40% depending on the type of claim and the agreement between the client and the law firm.
The main benefit of a contingency fee agreement to a client is the risk. Many folks who are injured in an accident are not able to pay a lawyer an hourly rate if they are not able to work and are paying their medical expenses. Another benefit for a client is the risk of loss. If the case doesn't work, the client is not responsible for the attorney's fees.
If you are looking for a Michigan City car accident attorney, call Guy DiMartino Law at (219) 690-8997 or fill out the contact box to the right for an internet consultation.
Guy DiMartino Law, 1411 S. Woodland Ave., Michigan City, Indiana 46360